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Shorebirds - Not on the Shore

What the heck is that about?

Shorebirds' lives take them to many places other than the shore. Most of the shorebirds we see along our coasts migrate to the Arctic in summer. Here, many nest on the tundra, some along rushing streams, and others on rocky mountainsides. Long-billed Curlews winter on the Florida, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. But this one was seen in a field near Creston, BC, Canada, nearly 500 miles from the coast and 1/2 mile from the nearest body of water, the Kootenay River!

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Full Transcript


Shorebirds Far from the Sea
Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Sound of waves along the shore, mixed with calls of Red Knots, Semipalmated Plovers, and Dunlin]

Almost any time of year when you visit the ocean shoreline — Pacific, Atlantic, or the Gulf of Mexico — you're likely to find a batch of sandpipers and plovers. Small-to-medium-sized birds running along the retreating wave edge, probing in the mudflats or flying up suddenly in a tight flock. 

They are such an accustomed presence near the water’s edge that the whole group of them — plovers, sandpipers, and several others — is known officially as “shorebirds.”     

But shorebirds’ lives take them to many places other than the shore. Most migrate to the Arctic in summer, where many nest on the tundra, some along rushing streams and others on rocky mountainsides. [Ambient including call of Black-bellied Plover] 

The Long-billed Curlew, which winters on the Florida, Gulf, and Pacific coasts, nests in the grasslands and sagebrush of the arid West. About as un-shore-like as it gets. [Long-billed Curlew song in background]

And one of the most familiar of shorebirds, the handsome plover called the Killdeer, is a year-round habitué of open farmlands, park lawns, and ploughed fields. [Killdeer calling]    

So it's only on a few lucky days that you might see one at the shore. [Sound of waves along the shore, mixed with calls of Dunlin]

For BirdNote, I'm Mary McCann.


Calls of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Dunlin, Red Knot, Semipalmated Plover and Black-bellied Plover recorded by W.W.H. Gunn; Long-billed Curlew by R.S. Little; Killdeer by G.A. Keller.
Ambient waves J. Kessler Productions.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to     October 2014/2017    Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# shorebird-03-2010-10-15-MM   shorebird-03b

Sights & Sounds

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